ADHD Related Burnout – Yes, it’s Real!


Exhaustible! Exhaustion! Fashionable complaint? Nope. Burnout is an official diagnosis. Yes…it’s legitimate. Especially people with ADHD.

Legitimate symptoms are used to qualify for burnout. There are feelings of exhaustion or energy depletion. There is an increased mental distance from one’s job or negativism related to one’s job. Evaluating the job performance, there is reduced professional efficacy. So what is ADHD-Related Burnout?

  • People with ADHD are 5 times more likely to experience workplace burnout.
  • Personal or professional occurrences. Often unable to return to school/work.
  • An overwhelming need to leave the premises.
  • Ongoing stress and frustration.
  • Endless intervention from well-meaning teachers, friends, and coworkers.

 A major concern is stress in losing a job. Stress brings more stress. Work harder. Work longer hours. Try to catchup. Hide shame.

People with ADHD neglect personal needs when facing ADHD-Related burnout. They skip sleep  and abandon them.  Lose sleep due to “normal” demands.

Ask yourself, is there a difference between textbook burnout and ADHD-related burnout? Yes. ADHD burnout results in cognitive impairments. Lack of focus is ongoing. They have poor short-term memory. All of these result in stress that increases the burnout.   

The problem of ADHD burnout is the lack of control of their disability. Relentless stress leaves no time available to relax and recharge. Doing well doesn’t do it either. There’s rarely enough time to celebrate successes. Self-advocacy isn’t something that’s a strength. Where can you look for causes?

  • Feeling like you have little or no control.
  • Not getting enough sleep.
  • Lack of recognition or reward for good work.
  • Perfectionist tendencies, nothing is good enough.
  • Lack of close, supportive relationships.

The 3R approach provides techniques to reduce ADHD related burnout. Recognize: Look for warning signs. Reduce: Undo damage by seeking support and manage stress, Resilience: Take care of your physical and emotional health.

Students with ADHD should reach out to reduce the impact of burnout. Look for signs of stress.This includes intense fear, worry, and disabling dread. 

  • Practice mindfulness (emotional triggers).
  • Write down every task (memory).
  • Consider hiring a coach or therapist.
  • Do one thing at a time.
  • Talk to coworkers for support (suggestion). 

Teens and adults with ADHD should take care to reduce the likelihood of burnout. Take effective breaks. Similar to the frequent breaks on IEPs and 504 Plans. Research suggests that they need to take 10 minute breaks very often. Use it as a chance to refuel.

Another technique is to turn negatives into positives. Talk to a caretaker. 

Share feelings. Be honest. Maintain hope.

Question: Have you experienced burnout?







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